So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak… Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.” But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”…Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome.” So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, “It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared.” Gen. 32:24-30
This has been a hard couple of months, a hard year, a hard couple of years! We didn’t realize how blessed we were during the time that my husband ran his own business for 14 years. We didn’t realize what a privilege it was to live on our own schedule, be our own boss, work out of our home, work together, for the family to be together much of the time. I got to stay at home and raise my kids and worked when I felt like it. We thought things were tight financially then, but we were actually doing pretty well. We had no idea how easy things were then!
Then my husband lost his business two years ago. He had no idea what to do next. There he was, a middle-aged man, having to start over again. He decided to retrain for a job that he knew was always available, even in this tough economy: truck driving. He then got a job to drive over the road for the next year. While we were thankful to have a job, the job itself was horrible. The only time off was that which was required by law, 34 hours a week. He drove an 18-wheeler all day and was also responsible for unloading the entire trailer by hand. He was so exhausted. He lost weight on what was already a lean frame to the point where he was unhealthy. I was worried about him. When he did finally make it home, he only had the energy to sleep, eat, and pack to leave again. It was a really awful job! However, while it didn’t pay what he made in his own business, it was the better paying job, although they expected you to work 70 hours a week for that pay and be away from home most of the time. It just wasn’t worth it.
So a year ago, he quit that job to drive locally. He delivered carbon dioxide to restaurants all day. This job was better than the last one (which isn’t saying much!), but was still a pretty bad job. My sweet husband survived that one for 10 months and could not take it any longer. So he left that job in May. This left us without the majority of our income. We were scared to death! How would we pay the bills? Were we even following God’s will? Would He really take care of us?
It was a pretty stressful time. It seems we are learning over and over and over to trust God! And we are learning that He can be trusted, both financially and spiritually. There were times when I was so mad at Him, in such an irrational way. I mean, of course, God is God! He is always right and who can question what He allows?! But that doesn’t change the fact that I was mad at how our lives had turned out! One week, our church Bible study was about Jacob and how he wrestled with God all night. The study suggested that we shouldn’t be afraid to wrestle with God. So I took them up on that suggestion. I wrestled with Him, over and over, every night, every day.
And would you believe that He didn’t leave me?! He was and is still here. He calmly listened to me. He understood. He cared for me. He comforted me. He held me. And in the midst of that naked honesty with God, I found Him. I found intimacy. Just truth, transparency, my true self communing with Him. No pretending. No barriers. It was a strange intimacy that I wouldn’t expect, but yet that is what I found. He can handle me when I can’t handle myself any more. When I was at the end of my strength and ability to cope and even ability to trust Him, that is when He stepped in and carried me. Now if that isn’t amazing, I don’t know what is! I stand in awe of what He can do.
I have also learned (re-learned) that after all my ranting and raving honesty, I eventually have to settle on choosing to believe that God is good and that He is working out good for us. I have to state it to myself and to Him, even if I don’t feel it at the moment. But when I choose to do that, somehow, God begins to comfort me and to change my heart, so it becomes a little bit of my own truth.
In addition to the spiritual care we received, God provided financially. So many people blessed us with unexpected gifts or a larger than normal birthday presents of cash. It was both of our birthdays in July and there was no way we could afford to go out to eat. But God arranged for the kids to be on a trip with my parents and then provided coupons for free birthday dinners at restaurants. One of the wonderful places we visited was Spaghetti Warehouse. They were so kind to us! God also provided odd jobs here and there, house sitting, lawn mowing. Somehow we have made it this far, even with minimal income for several weeks and we have not yet been unable to pay our bills or lost our house. Actually, since Dave lost his business two years ago, money has been tight. But God has provided for us the entire time through everything.
My husband has started a new job this week for less income that he has made at any of these other jobs. But we believe that God has led us here. It’s still scary. But if He can provide for us through all of this, even when we had hardly any income, then He can certainly provide when we have some income. We will continue to learn to trust Him, although I have no doubt that I will be doing some more wrestling in my future! And He will listen and care for us and carry us through.
Thank You God, for taking care of us. Even when I feel I have nothing left, You are still there. It blows my mind away! You still love me and carry me through all of this. Help us to trust You as things are still uncertain. Lead us and show us what to do. I can’t tell You how much it means to me that You have gotten us through thus far and how You have cared for me, so gently and tenderly. We love You.
Read Full Post »